I met up with Ms. Gray the day before the interview itself to verify the time and location. Don’t worry, I wore something a little more professional to the interview itself.

I did something completely out of my comfort zone recently. I interviewed somebody and then wrote about the interview for GeekMom. It had nothing to do with meteorology or the Air Force — so it was pretty tough for me.

Because I had applied for media access to attend Dragon*Con last Labor Day weekend (i.e., a free four-day ticket!), I received an invitation to request interviews with up to three celebrity guests of my choosing.

There were a few rules, such as each media outlet (in my case, Wired.com’s GeekMom blog) having a limited number of guests with whom we could request access. I believe we could only interview five guests total, but each individual in the group could only request three. I don’t remember the specifics.

The other GeekMom at Dragon*Con with media access got interviews with Jane Espensen (writer and producer of such shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Torchwood and Once Upon a Time) and John Barrowman (star of Torchwood and guest star on BBC’s Doctor Who).

I looked at the guest list and decided to look for fellow geeky moms to interview. I found two that caught my attention: Erin Gray (of Buck Rogers and Silver Spoons) and Kathy Najimy (of Sister Act, Veronica’s Closet and the voice of Peggy Hill on King of the Hill). Both were involved with their acting careers while their children were young, and both actresses are strong outspoken women who support causes that empower women.

The afternoon before leaving for Dragon*Con, I received an email with a date/time/location for an interview Erin Gray. I never did hear back from Ms. Najimy.

I was pleased as punch, but also nervous! I had one evening — on top of packing for the long weekend — to figure out questions for Ms. Gray. I consulted fellow GeekMoms who were very helpful in providing questions. I also consulted the Dragon*Con Media Relations website that had some good tips about researching our subjects and coming up with effective questions.

Dave took the boys to the NASA Robotics Workshop that took place at the same time as the interview. I expected maybe 20 minutes tops for the interview!

But Ms. Gray gave GeekMom a whopping 50 minutes of her time and she had so much to say in response to each of the 6 questions I had asked (I had 9 questions prepared; I didn’t expect to get through more than 4). I used my iPhone Voice Memo app to record the entire interview. This was great because I could write about all the other topics while they were fresh in my mind, and when I was ready, I was able to replay the entire interview.

I went to Nebraska for some AF work in late September. In the evenings I could sit at the desk in my billeting (i.e., lodging) room and slowly transcribe the audio recordings.  It took all week to get everything transcribed!  When it was all done, it was over 6700 words transcribed!

After transcribing the words, I had an even more difficult task ahead of me.  How do I turn it into something people will want to read? I needed to tie together the answers to her questions into a coherent story, if you will.

I had no idea how to do this. I read several other interviews that had been done on GeekMom, plus I looked at interviews with celebrities in magazines for inspiration (such as an interview with Zoe Saldana in the September issue of Delta Airlines Sky magazine, available on my flight to and from Omaha).

I got advice from other GeekMom writers, they gave me an idea of what liberties I could take with the raw transcripts to make the storylines flow more smoothly.

It was still difficult. It took me 10 calendar days (not all at once, but I worked with it on most evenings) to put it all together. Then I proofread it, and then proofread it again…and again…and again.

Procrastinating on the post was a blessing in disguise, actually: my moving the publication of the post into October, we were able to tie in Ms. Gray’s involvement with October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities.

Anyway, I did my best with it, but not without a lot of soul searching and being near tears several times, wondering “What did I get myself into?”  I’m a meteorologist, not a journalist!

I was then met with another challenge — this interview write up quickly turned into the LONGEST post I’d ever done for GeekMom. So I asked the GeekMom editors for advice on whether to break up the post into multiple parts (which I had done with my writings about the Facebook Timeline and our Disney Cruise) or leave it in one piece but allow readers to page through.

I decided to leave the interview write up in one piece and it ended up at around 4900 words.  Definitely a record for my 20 months with GeekMom. My average post is between 1000-2000 words.

(If only I got paid per word…some writers can earn 50 cents to several dollars PER WORD!!! But that’s okay, I have a job already….).

I hope you enjoy it!

20. September 2012 · Comments Off on Our Trip to Dragon*Con · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

We all know who that is on the left. But who knows who’s standing on the other side of me? It was SO SCARY how well he nailed the character!

This post has been a long time coming…but because GeekMom’s credientials got me a free press pass into Dragon*Con, I had to write all my Dragon*Con related posts for GeekMom first. Our whole family drove up to Atlanta over Labor Day weekend and stayed in a hotel near Turner Field so we could also enjoy a Braves game (for another post).

Learn more about the history of Dragon*Con here.

Do you want to go to Dragon*Con? Here’s the website.

Since I’m heading on a jet plane for Nebraska in the morning, I figured for now I could simply refer you to the posts I had written over the past 2 1/2 weeks for GeekMom. That about sums up the fantastic weekend we had!

I have a lot more posts forthcoming (about a plethora of topics) as I have a few days to myself while I’m working.

The boys couldn’t get enough of all the costumes! They were indispensable when it came to identifying some of the characters, especially from Pokemon and the more obscure Star Wars characters.

I had never been to a fan-con, and it was a pretty amazing experience. I was probably a bit over my head with how intense some of the fans are. I didn’t even attempt to wait in the very long lines to meet some of the more popular fans (such as Torchwood’s John Barrowman and Batman’s Adam West and Burt Ward).

The parade was a totally new experience for our family, especially the part where we publicly appeared in costumes somewhere other than on Halloween or a Civil War reenactment!

For those who didn’t know, Timmy became a Doctor Who fan this past summer. I’ve been slowly working my way through 2005-and-later episodes on Amazon Video and he often joins me. He loved seeing the Daleks, TARDISes and fans dressed as the several variations of The Doctor.

The next Dragon*Con post I plan to write will be an interview with the amazing Erin Gray, who starred in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century in the 1970s, and Silver Spoons in the 1980s. Ms. Gray’s accounts of being a working mom in a challenging marriage were very moving. It was also very interesting learning her story of how she turned to alternative medicine and tai chi as a way to keep from delving down a road of drugs and alcohol, like so many of her colleagues.

Dave is a huge fan of The Simpsons. He found not only Duff Man, but also a group of Stonecutters!

Here are my four Dragon*Con Diary posts, enjoy!

First Impressions

Dragon*Con With the Kids

“Cosplay” and the Dragon*Con Parade

Science and Space Panels

02. August 2012 · Comments Off on Summer Crafting · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Getting the family ready for Dragon*Con, Halloween and the Disney Princess running weekend all at once! I found the iron-on for stretchy-fabric paper at our local A.C. Moore.

The weather continues to get the best of us this week.  We were still able to hit the Pensacola MESS Hall again on Wednesday, and today I had some meetings on base while the kids stayed home and our neighbor’s son watched them.  With thunderstorms all around us this afternoon squelching our pool plans, I was able to catch up on some craft stuff.

Such as putting finishing touches on our Incredibles costumes.

“What in the world do you need Incredibles costumes for?”

Over Labor Day weekend, the family is heading up to Atlanta.  We got some Braves-Phillies tickets on August 31st, and then on Sept. 1-2, we are planning to visit Dragon*Con for the first time.

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